No. 7 Eagles Open Season With 1-1 Tie Against No. 2 Cardinal
Published: Friday, August 20, 2010
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01
Class may not be in session yet, but the No. 7 Boston College women's soccer team faced its first test of the year when it took on the No. 2 Stanford Cardinal before a packed house on the Newton Soccer Field on Friday night. With a sold-out crowd of 2,000 people watching how BC would fare in its season-opener, the Eagles and Cardinal battled to a 1-1 tie after two overtimes.
The last time Stanford and BC saw each other, the Cardinal knocked off the Eagles for a spot in the NCAA Final Four.
"I think it leaves a bad taste in your mouth, whoever knocks you out," said head coach Alison Foley. "I think they certainly had fire in their eyes when we told them Stanford was the first game on the schedule."
Natalie Crutchfield provided a spark, scoring the Eagles' lone goal in the 64th minute. The forward agreed with her coach's decision to start the season off with a national powerhouse.
"We really appreciate Coach scheduling big names, because our team this year, we really think we can step up," Cruchfield said.
The BC offense remained quiet until Kristen Mewis found a running Crutchfield, who chipped the ball up and over the head of Stanford goalie Kira Maker. Other than the assist, Mewis remained quiet on offense, which Foley says she expected.
"They did a good job on Kristie tonight, and they needed to, because she's one of the best players in the country, if not the world, and she got caught between two midfielders and they double-downed on her a lot," she said.
Foley's Eagles took the opening kickoff, but Stanford quickly showed that they came to play. Only 30 seconds into the game, Lindsay Taylor slipped behind Crutchfield and fired a shot, which goalkeeper Jillian Mastroianni saved with a diving effort to her left.
Stanford was hardly done. The Cardinal continued the attack, as Christen Press, whom Foley called "one of the best forwards in the country," rocketed the rebound into the side of the net. Press totaled eight shots in the contest, but Foley sang the praises of defender Alaina Beyar, who played Press hard.
"She's a simple yet steady defender, and I thought she was fantastic."
Stanford spent much of the first half in control of the ball in their offensive zone, displaying good ball movement to prevent the Eagles from clearing it.
"I thought our defense was playing a little too far back in the first half, which gave them room to run," Foley said.
The Eagles' first real chance of the night came when Victoria DiMartino streaked down the far sideline and crossed the ball to Brooke Knowlton, whose shot sailed high.
Mastroianni recorded four saves in the first half to keep the Eagles in the game. The Cardinal varied their shot types, but the 5-foot-8 Mastroianni leapt for some shots and laid out on others, keeping the game scoreless.
The Cardinal finally got one past Mastroianni when Taylor struck a perfect ball from 23 yards out and found the right side of the net in the 56th minute. Of Stanford's 22 shots, however, that was the only one that found the back of the Eagles net, as Mastroianni totaled 10 saves.
"I'll go back to my mantra, she's the best goalie in the country," Foley said.
The two teams entered overtime, comprised of two, 10-minute halves, knowing that the next goal would decide the contest.
"We have this motto that this is our house, and stepping on the field for overtime, it better be with the grace of God that they come out with it, because we're going to leave everything on the field," Crutchfield said.
Multiple Eagles went down with cramps and stiffness, but they refused to yield the decisive goal despite seven Cardinal shots in extra time. In a test against the second-best team in the nation, the Eagles passed.
"It was a good result for the first night out," Foley said.